So the Fish Said...

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear.

- Walt Whitman

Meet the Fish

I want to get a pet duck and keep it in the bathtub.
I am addicted to chap stick and altoids.
I am freakishly flexible.

World's Most Beautiful Child


World's Most Handsome Child


Other Important Things

Clive Owen

Clive Owen
Pretend Celebrity Boyfriend

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so the fish said...
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Why it Sucks Being Married to Me

When I say: "Are you going to go out and get a girlfriend who isn't as tired and cranky and bitchy as me and who brushes her hair every day and who doesn't looks like she's four months pregnant and doesn't need to lose seven ten fifteen pounds and whose boobs don't look like deflated balloons and who doesn't have gray hair and fucking wrinkles?"

He says: "Of course not. I love you and you are beautiful and hot and are the only woman I could ever want."

But when he says: "Are you going to have an affair with that fireman who sort of maybe almost flirted with you a little bit at the grocery store last week?"

I say: "Oh my hell yes, absolutely, no doubt about it. Hey, what time are you coming home from work tomorrow? Because I'm having my new fireman boyfriend over and he hates it when you get home early and he has to find his pants and jump out the back window."

Extended Similie

A thirteen month old baby is like that really bad boyfriend you had back when you were young and stupid.

You know, the one who you made him all his favorite foods for dinner and he just threw it on the floor and yelled at you and then never even apologized because he'd had a long day or something so you were supposed to understand. And then he walks off to play his xylophone Nintendo while you clean up the mess.

The one who never had any money, so every time you go out you have to pay for everything. And soon you are buying him clothes and shoes and a new stroller motorcycle.

The one who you don't hear from all evening and then there he is at midnight wanting to hop into bed with you and he's saying "Come on, we'll just cuddle" but you know as soon as he is there he's going to be grabbing your boobs all night.

The one who won't keep his hands off of you, and at first you thought it was cute but eventually you want to say "Dude, we are in the middle of the grocery store. Could you keep your hands out of my bra for ten minutes?"

And he won't let you see your friends, and when you try he always comes along and behaves so badly that you have to leave. He won't even let you talk to them on the phone. As soon as you try he's all wanting to talk to you or he needs you to change his diaper iron his shirt and then he screams at you for no reason for hours and by the time he storms off to bed and goes to sleep it is too late to call back.

And he's always getting into trouble and calling you to bail him out. Like, Hey, Mama Baby, I climbed up onto the kitchen table crashed my car again and I don't know how to get down I'm a little drunk, so can you come help me out here? And as soon as you help him, he doesn't even say thank you but just does the exact same thing again and you have to save his ass again.

And every time you are ready to throw in the towel, you think but he needs me, and just yesterday he brought me a chunk of banana that he chewed and then spit out and then crammed in my mouth before I noticed what he was doing flowers, and he smells so good, and before you know it your resolve is gone and you are there for years.

But with the bad boyfriend, you know that as soon as you kick him out he's just going to do it again to the next girl. The baby you can at least insure that he will never be anybody's really bad boyfriend again.

Growing List

Another one for the Big Ol' List of Things I Never Thought I Would Have to Say to My Children:

"Would you please stop kneeling on my nipple?"

The strange part is that this hardly seems strange to me anymore

Quick, parents of older kids: when do you get to go to the bathroom by yourself again? I mean alone, without anyone on your lap or telling you a story, with the door shut and nobody banging on the outside asking why they can't come in why why why?

This morning, I found myself doing what one does in the bathroom with Owen jumping up and down on my lap and Mia sitting two inches away in the edge of the tub while I tried to explain word roots to her (dentist, dental floss, dentition, dentifrice, etc).

I bet that never happens to Angelina Jolie.

Big Boy

Be nice, I already broke down sobbing about it in the middle of the mall.





Interview with Mia (age 3.5)

From Elaine.

1. What is something mommy always says to you?

2. What makes mommy happy?
When I go tinkle.

3. What makes mommy sad?
When I'm not there.

4. How does your mommy make you laugh?

5. What did your mommy like to do when she was a child?

6. How old is your mommy ?

7. How tall is your mommy ?
This tall (with arm in the air).

8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV?

9. What does your mommy do when you're not around?

10. If your mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?

11. What is your mommy really good at?
Making cakes.

12. What is your mommy not very good at?

13. What does your mommy do for her job?
Work for Marshall.

14. What is your mommy 's favorite food?

15. What makes you proud of your mommy?
When you do it the right way.

16. If your mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
I don't know.

17. What do you and your mommy do together?

18. How are you and your mommy the same?
We both have the same color eyes and the same color hair and the same big ponytails.

19. How are you and your mommy different?
Because we have different clothes.

20. How do you know your mommy loves you?
Because she loves me.

21. What does your mommy like most about your daddy?
Because he loves her.

22. Where is your mommy 's favorite place to go?

On Marriage

The Situation: Chris uses the last of something we use daily which is toxic to the children and therefore extras are stored on an inaccessible shelf in the hall closet. Deodorant, toothpaste, etc. Chris disposes of the empty (maybe) and goes merrily on his way, leaving Beth to fetch a new one in her moment of need.

Beth's response:
Fuck! That fucking asshole! How fucking hard is it to fucking get a fucking new fucking whatever. Fuckhole!

Chris's response: Nnnnnnnnn... I like beer.... Nnnnnnn..... Girls are pretty..... Nnnnnnn..... I think I should scratch my balls now.

Beth's Attack: Nice fucking move, you fucking lazy fucking fuckhole.

Chris's Lame Defense:
At least this way I get to look at your ass while you go get a new one.


A friend of mine recently suggested that there should be a book titled Classic Marital Problems for Parents of Young Children, and baby, I've got Chapters 1-12 right here and ready to go (file this one under "Chapter 4, He/She Doesn't Appreciate What I Do" ). Now, who has Chapter 13?

Five Year Extravaganza, Day 3

Sorry, no commenters list today, but if you missed this one I just can't keep it from you a moment longer.

From November 18, 2004:

In the beginning was the fly.


The fly was scary and The People were sore afraid.


The People were also getting ready to go grab a smoke but the fly, it would not be denied. And so The People stopped to ponder, thinking "What shalt we do?"

"Aha," The People realized "we dost haveth a dishtowel. Perhaps we can menace yonder fly with said dishtowel."


The People prepared to do battle with the fly. They began by looking right


and left,




and low


for the fly.

Finally, The People located the fly! There was rejoicing and girding of loins for battle! And then there was running away as The People were still sore afraid.


But The People eventually became braver and returned to face the demon fly. They threatened!


They swiped!


They swatted!


The battle was long and bloody. The People despaired. The People hung their heads, and in fact their entire upper bodies in shame and despondency.


But finally, The People realized that they were being hampered by their leather jackets. The People removed their leather jackets and were then able to outwit the fly by cleverly climbing onto the countertops to gain greater reach with their dishtowel. (The People did this with their shoes on, which greatly angered The People's wife.) The People vanquished the fly! The People won their glorious reward! There was rejoicing and revelry!


The People went forth and multiplied. No, wait, that isn't quite right. The People went forth and smoked their cigarette in the knowledge and love of their mad fly-whopping skillz.

Of many more to come

Mia and Owen just had their first argument.

Mia: No!
Owen: Yah.
Mia: No!
Owen: Yah.
Mia: No!
Owen: Yah.
Mia: No!
Owen: Yah.
Mia: No!
Owen: Yah.

I'm so proud.

Five Year Extravaganza, Day 2

You know, I am finding it a hell of a lot more fun to look back at who my earliest commenters were than to read through my archives trying to find posts with any sort of redeeming value. So let's do the commenters first again and then I'll come up with something.

Commenter #3 was Michele from Coffee Soup. I love Michele. In fact, I would hunt her down and make out with her, except that I think she would punch me and I think it would hurt.

Commenter #4 was Brian from Byrneunit. Which I haven't read in a while, to be honest, because while it was really funny I always suspected I was too lame to get the jokes. You should check it out though, you are probably much cooler than me.

Commenter #5 was Eve from Mothering Down the Bones, now defunct, and I miss that blog more than my cats.

Commenter #6 has been redacted because his site launches spam windows and I hate that.

(Is it cheating if I skip a few? It is more fun to post the people I know instead of the people who came here once and are going to wonder why the hell I am linking to them.)

And here's an old post for your possible-but-not-likely enjoyment.

June 30, 2004

Authoritarian Regime, and Other Stories


I have decided to institute an authoritarian regime. I think I am well suited to this job because I really like to make new rules but don't always like to follow them. You may call me either Dear Leader or Mistress Beth. It is entirely your choice, because that is the kind of open and understanding benevolent dictator that I am. Now, for my first proclamation:

New Rules for Concert-Goers

1. Shut. Thefuck. Up. If you are not interested in the concert, don't go to the concert. If you go to the concert, sit quietly and watch the show. You may make occasional, relevant comments to your neighbors. You may not spend 4 hours talking about what Lauren said to Jessica and whether or not Jessica was the one who told Taylor about it.

2. Do not leave your beer bottles and other random trash on the lawn. I mean people, please. There are trash cans right behind you. Don't be an asshole.

3. When leaving the parking lot, try not to hit any other cars. If you do hit another car, try even harder not to hit a second car within 60 seconds. Once you have driven your car into two other perfectly innocent cars it may be time to realize you are being a teensy little bit too aggressive and maybe, I don't know, CHILL.

4. If you have an unfortunate hair loss condition resulting in a bald spot that is not so much a bald spot but is really a bald stripe down one side of your head, you should wear a hat. Or at least not sit directly in front of me. And also, get rid of the mullet because it isn't fooling anybody.

5. Rufus Wainwright and Guster should form a new band together. Because Oh. My. Dude. That was incredible. Also, Rufus Wainwright should come sit over here with me and maybe let me lick him just a little bit.


1. Cats do not understand tough love.

2. If you are wearing sunglasses and have another pair of sunglasses on top of your head so you will remember to take them back out to your car, you should remove at least one pair of sunglasses before going in to work.

3. It occurred to me last night that every guy I ever dated was a musician (in order they were guitar, voice/sax, voice/guitar, sax, anything with strings). (Yes, there were only 5. I started dating my husband when I was 18.)

4. As a corollary to the above, there is nothing sexier to me than a guy who is a musician. Case in point, I like the firemen and all, but did I marry a fireman? Nope. I married a rock star.

5. If the shirt you are wearing is so tight that you cannot button the last button, maybe you should consider a different shirt.

6. Sign language for "giving the finger" is actually giving the finger.


1545 entries (that I haven't deleted).

41.027 comments (that I haven't deleted).

Five years of this blog, as of today.

Aren't you glad you stopped by the share in the festivities? To celebrate, I am going to spend the week (or until I get bored) reposting some stuff from my first year or so that you likely missed, so that you can read it and be glad that you missed it all those years ago.

I'm also going to highlight some of the first people to comment here so that you can go visit them and love them as much as I do. Let's do that first, shall we? My first comment from someone other than my husband was from the illustrious Busy Mom way back on March 25, 2004. Next was Anne from Belgian Waffle on 5/1/2004. You should go say hello.

And now, for today's Blast from the Past, we are getting back to July 20, 2004.

Now with 20% more buttcrack!

At yoga last night, I spent the whole class behind Clearly Visible Buttcrack. Of course, this buttcrack did not belong to the cute boy with the nice hair and really good legs. Oh no. The buttcrack belonged to the big pasty grunty guy and was therefore not anything I wanted to see. It was very distracting. I really wanted to yoga my way over to him and whisper in his ear "Dude, namaste and all that, but could you please hike up the shorts?"

However, I did discover that yoga is far more rewarding when you put your mat behind the cutest boy in class `cause then you get to admire his legs for an hour while pretending you are looking in the mirror to check your alignment.

Also! I have developed an Excellent New Plan! I believe that you should always weigh yourself while wearing shoes, and then just subtract the weight of your shoes to arrive at your Actual Correct Weight. For example, my tennis shoes weigh four pounds apiece, so when I weigh myself I have to subtract 8 pounds. Your results may vary. Also I have discovered that the older I get, the heavier my shoes become. Very strange, that.

And finally I would like to report that I look Very Nice today. For most people, that would not be noteworthy, but my usual style is what I would call Presentable (in that my clothes are generally not stained or torn and frequently almost match) so this is an occasion. However, the skirt I'm wearing is really starting to bother me and I may have to take it off, in which case I will not only blow my shot at looking Very Nice, but will also crash all the way through Presentable straight to Fired and Possibly Arrested. But at least my pretty necklace will look good in my mug shots.

Nope, sorry, no idea what is going on today with me and the Random Capitalization.

So much for equality

I have recently discovered one way in which it is better to have a baby girl than a baby boy.

Baby girls are far less likely to pee on the walls.

More advice you didn't ask for

When we moved into our house, one of the things about which we were most excited was that we would be able to give Mia a playroom. Nice for her, sure, but also we would finally have a house free from toys because they would all be in the playroom or her bedroom.

No, that's ok, I'll wait for you to stop laughing.

So obviously we have a dedicated playroom full of toys (and the couch that wouldn't fit down the stairs into the basement and the piano and a small fraction of our seriously obscene book collection) and the house is still full of toys. The play kitchen is in the dining room because Mia likes to do her cooking close to Mommy. (And we almost never use the dining room for anything else, so what the hey.) The living room is always full of toys because the playroom is a little far from the kitchen and I want to keep Owen closer when I am trying to make lunch, etc., and it has become the default parking spot for the two Power Wheels my aunt sent for the kids. (Mia's was confined to the garage until Owen got his, and then I gave up and now they have races around the kitchen.)

The toys don't bother me too much, but once the kids are in bed I like to not spend the evening tripping over them. I don't care if the playroom is a disaster, but the rest of the house starts to annoy me. Cleaning up annoys me too, of course. You can't just cram stuff anywhere to get it out of the way, because come morning Mia will be asking me where the blue maraca is, not the green maraca she hates the green maraca and really needs the blue maraca and if the blue maraca isn't in the drum with the recorder and the harmonica and the kazoo then I am going to have to spend a chunk of my morning looking for it and it is just easier to put it in the right place to start with.

This means that I spend a large portion of my evenings schlepping all over the house. I find three things in the kitchen that belong in the playroom, carry them in, find something in there that belongs in the play kitchen, which turns out to have four barrettes that should be in Mia's room and on and on until I have done eight laps around the house.

But now, I have a system! And this whole long post is just an excuse to tell you about it! And if you tell me you have been doing it for years I am going to be so totally pissed at you, because why didn't you tell me? Anyway, here's my system:

Get a basket. Pick a room. Put away everything that belongs in that room. Put everything that doesn't belong in that room into the basket. Go to the next room and dump your basket out on the floor. You aren't going to want to do this, because it is just more mess and you think you can just pick through the basket. Trust me, you will miss stuff, just dump it. Once again, put away everything that belongs in that room and put everything else into the basket. Move on until you have done all the rooms and your basket is empty, which will take at most two full trips around the house. It takes me about half as long this way. Feel free to thank me profusely and tell me how I have changed your life.

Thanks, kid

Mia: Mommy! Look how far I can jump!
Me: That's great, Bean.
Mia: I can jump all the way past your bottom!
Me: That's super.
Mia: Oh no, your bottom is too big. I can't jump past it even with a super big jump.

Owen, Month Thirteen

Sweet Owen,

You are thirteen months old today, and yesterday you learned how to sign banana and how to say no. They are both pretty adorable. Your sign for banana is to bang your hands together and hoot until I cram a banana into your mouth. Your version of no is "na" with a coy little grin and vigorous shaking of the head. No is definitely your favorite word and you dedicate hours of your day getting Mama to tell you no so that you can practice your giggling defiance and keep right on doing whatever it is that you know I want you to stop. We'll need to work on this, I suppose, so that you don't giggle and steal my keys when you are 16 and I tell you that you may not borrow the car, but for now I love seeing that you are edging away from being my malleable baby and toward being my mischievous little boy.

You've been giving the walking thing a try this month, mostly a step here and a step there. Then on Saturday we went to a playdate with ten children and you were desperate to join in the boisterous round football/soccer/hide and seek/duck duck goose that went on for a couple of hours. As soon as we got home, you blew your three step record out of the water with seven consecutive steps. That record still stands, but you are trying hard and practicing often and I know you will be running around after the football before we know it.

You were sick this month and wouldn't eat much and it took you a week and a half to recover fully. Once you did, I was awed by how much you eat. It took a week of not eating for me to realize the amount of food you can pack away. I am already making thrice weekly trips to the grocery store and I cringe to imagine your teenage years. You don't like sweet potatoes or strawberries, but are willing to give everything else the benefit of the doubt. You've even come around on cake and enjoyed your first shot at ice cream, but not your second. Bananas are ruling the roost these days, though, and you sometimes go through four a day. I've always suspected you were a little monkey.

You are starting to learn that if you take the book out of your mouth and give it to Mama, Mama will read you a story. It isn't usually worth the trouble, but you do let me read Doggies by Sandra Boynton, and it is a statement about my love for you that I have barked my way through that book in front of crowds of people and then started over and done it again.

We just gave up on your morning nap because it wasn't worth the battle to get you to take it. When you don't want to sleep, you stand up in your crib and throw your blankie over the side and then scream and scream (and scream). When I come to check with your damage is, you point to your blankie and give me a look of total betrayal, as in how could I possibly expect you to sleep without your dearly beloved blankie. I'm totally on to you, kid, not that it does a bit of good. You just flat do not like to sleep, but I am still hopeful that you will one day come to understand the error of your ways.

The first thing people notice about you is your hair. Still wild, still white, long enough now to get into your eyes but I can't bare to cut it. The next thing is your eyes, clear blue and shining. Once you rope people in, you flash your best flirty smile and turn total strangers into piles of goo. We sometimes go to the grocery store when Mia is in school and it takes us ages to get out because all the little old ladies who like to shop then want their chance to coo at you and win that smile.

I admit that is a frequent goal of mine, too.


Ashamed, but still

I hate to admit this, but I think I might need coordinating boy/girl Easter outfits. And I don't know where to find them (much like Little Bo Peep). Suggestions?

Read (Being the Past-Tense of "Read," Which there is No Other Way to Clarify)

Let's see, I last posted what I have been reading in December or so, and this next chunk will mean that I have listed 334 total books for your perusal and yet I almost never get reading recommendations from you. Sometimes I feel this relationship is all give and no take. So once you have admired my very limited book list from the past couple of months, you should make a suggestion. Please note that I don't read romance or chick lit, and have already read these and these. I suppose you will just have to psychically determine what I read before I started keeping track in 2001.

Anyway, here's my list;

Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy
Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
Flipping Out by Marshall Karp
Bloodthirsty by Marshall Karp
The Forger's Spell by Edward Dolnick
Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
Blind Eye by James B. Stewart

Of those, I recommend:

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
For the first chunk of this book I was thinking that it was one of the best things I had ever read, possibly one of the best things ever written, and I had visions of, for the first time ever, finishing the book and then immediately reading it again. And then the second half fell apart for me just a bit. I did not, after all, immediately re-read the book, but it is still an excellent book and you should read it.

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
This is described as a book for young adults, but I don't see that at all. I mean, I'm sure they would enjoy it too. I'm 34 and avoid reading books about high school because I just don't care anymore and don't find the typical high school story lines (or high school aged people, really) compelling, but this book is excellent. The main character is young, but the plot is not. The characters are engaging and the story is told in a way that makes you want to read faster to learn what happens next. Read it.

Flipping Out by Marshall Karp
Bloodthirsty by Marshall Karp
(Full disclosure: I work for the author, but shilling his books on my website is not part of my job description.)
I don't usually read cop books, see above re: why I don't read high school books. But the cops in these books are great characters who would be fun to read in any genre. The books are funny, the plots are twisty, and you will want to invite the entire cast over to dinner. Is it too early to talk about beach books? These would be great beach books. Read 'em both.

This One is Mostly for my Mom

But it's only a minute long, so you can watch it too if you want.

Untitled from PlaygroupDropout on Vimeo.

Geeking out on the children

Owen took several steps yesterday - most of them with me scooting along in front of him wearing Mia's sunglasses, which he desperately wanted to grab off my face. But as I was getting him ready for bed, he stood up, let go of whatever object he was clinging too, and took two entirely intentional steps, with that disbelieving/ecstatic look on his face that is the exclusive purview of the just-learning walker. I love that look.

Mia spent a few minutes before dinner making pictures for all of us, so that we would "know she loves us." When I looked at the one in front of my place at dinner, I saw that she had written "MOM" on my picture. Just that, just mom.


Damn, I love these kids.

Beth Hooks You Up Again

Internet! I just hooked you up like a week and a half ago, and here I am hooking you up again! I'm a giver!

Beth Fixes your Windows

Have a nursery in need of a window covering? Just like sleeping until noon? You need these.


Cordless! Well, actually I'm sure there are cords somewhere, but they are so far inside that even the most determined menace child would have a hard time accessing them for purposes of strangulation. And they are black out shades. Check it!


You dig the light blockage, yes? They are Bali Cordless Diamond Cell Midnight Shades in Bright White, and I know that because I just ordered two more so that all of my upstairs windows are now outfitted with these bad boys. Not cheap, surely, for my standard-sized windows they are running about $115 a pop, but so worth the money.

Beth Fixes Your Other Windows

Need something that isn't a blackout shade but that also isn't a hideous dust and baby neck attracting mini blind? How's about these?



Roman shades. From Target, of course. Only available in standard sizes, which is sucky, but if you happen to have those standard-sized windows they are reasonably cheap and good quality. Ours have held up to a year of daily use, much of which comes in the form of a three year old popping the clamp and slamming them closed.

Beth Gives You a Gratuitous Picture of her Children

After all this, we were outside for about ten minutes before Mia lost her shit and demanded a return to the house.


You Give Back to Beth, Who has Given So Much to You

Now, you must tell me what to do with the windows in my dining room:


Ugh, so hideous, I know. Those were the curtains we had in the old house and they worked there and do not work at all in my red dining room. I need new curtains and some sort of non-mini-blind covering.

Also, the playroom:


Curtains aren't so bad in here, but I still need that elusive window covering.

Help me now.

The Internet is my Moral Compass

A couple of weeks ago I made an online purchase. It cost roughly $130. It was one of those things where you order online and pick up in person, so I ordered, drove over, collected my purchase and my receipt, and that was that. Except that when balancing the checkbook a few days later, I noticed that I had been billed twice for my purchase. There was a charge for $130 and a second charge for $140. So, I called the store, explained that I had been billed twice, and asked if they would please credit the $140 charge. They were very polite and apologetic and offered an explanation about how the error occurred and promised to credit the $140 charge immediately and to also credit my account $20 for the next time I bought something from them, just to apologize for the trouble. Piece of cake.

A couple of days later, I remembered to check for the credit and found that they had credited the $130 charge instead of the $140 charge. I made a note to call and have them correct it, but days passed and I eventually decided that I was too busy. I decided to just eat the $10 instead of dealing with the hassle of another phone call. Piece of cake.

The next time I checked the bank account, I saw that they had credited the $130 charge. How odd, thought I, I thought they had credited the $140 charge. Which they had, they credited both charges. So I called them, and they were confused, and they asked if I could please call back the next morning to talk to the manager who handles such things. So I called back the next morning and spoke to that manager and he was also confused and could not be compelled to charge me $130 and have done with it. He asked if I could get my receipt and take it into the store and then maybe he could help me. And I said, you want me to haul my two kids into your store and entertain them and keep them from touching anything while undoubtedly trying to explain this to you all over again all for the privilege of being charged $130? And he said, if you don't mind.

I mind. I have any number of better things to do with my time. I feel guilty that I have secured $130 worth of goods for the bargain price of zero dollars, but I am not wracked with guilt as I have made two phone calls informing the store of the problem and asking them to be charged $130. However, since I am asking you about this lo these weeks later, it seems I am not entirely at ease with my approach.

So you tell me, if I don't march into the store and demand to be charged $130 dollars, am I stealing and setting a bad example for my children that will inevitably lead them to a life of crime? Or does the fact that I have twice asked to pretty, pretty please be charged what I fairly owe satisfy my obligations and can I move onto obsessing about something new?